« ForrigeFortsett »
The nature of the work and the manner of its execution will doubtless be ascertained the most accurately by. the perusal of it, but it may yet not be improper in this place to state the editors own design. Were it possible consistently with other requisites to give the reader in all cases the same advantages with him who hears the decisions, it would be desirable to relate every thing as it passed, and to record every word as it was delivered. But to do this in all cases would be obviously inconvenient, and many times wholly unnecessary. A medium must
brevity at the same time that he has endeavoured to attain accuracy and perspicuity. With this view he has abridged, as much as he could safely venture to do, the statements of the cases; which are taken from the paper books or records of the court, where that could he done, and where not, as in cases of new trials, the facts have been collected from the briefs and from short-hand notes of the statements made upon the motion and of the leport of the Judge. The arguments of the counsel are stated very shortly in most cases, and in some wholly omitted. The judgment of the court is related very much at length, not, in all cases, according to the words, which no reporter has ever yet had the hardihood to profess, but rather according to the spirit and substance.
If these rules have not been invariably observed, the expeditious mode'of publication, monthly, must afford some excuse, aud it may be said of a long case as Howcl once said of a long letter, that the writer had not time to make it shorter. An apology is also due for some anonymous cases, and iu future it will be the Editor's endeavour to insert the names of ths parties in every case report d- As to the order of reporting them, some cases have been inserted out of their chronological order, because the necessary papers were procured
the editor has studied
first In point of time; and it is presumed, there is no real inconvenience to the reader in this.
As these reports may probably fall into the hands of many young students, some observations by way of caution in the use of them may not be deemed unnecessary, since they equally concern the improvement of the reader and the reputation of the editor.
In stating the judgments of the courts the greatest accuracy is certainly requisite, but to be infallible does not belong to human nature; and if Judges are supposed to have erred, it has most frequently been because reporters have misunderstood and consequently misrepresented them. Indeed in deciding particular cases, it must be observed, that it is very difficult both for the Judge to lay down, and the reporter to state with accuracy the general rules and principles which lead to the decision, with all the qualifications which ought to be attached to them. These can only be collected from a due consideration of the nature and all the circumstances of the case. It is therefore very seldom if ever safe to take up a garbled sentence, or an obiter dictum as an authority. It is always rash to do so without reference to the subject matter to which it is applied. An error by which the perverseness of some understandings, and the subtilty of others, may be led into the wildest absurdities. Acts of parliament may be discussed upon the literal meaning of every word as it stands in the context; for the makers of them have regard to general cases, and every possibility of event is presumed to be foreseen by the legislature; but cases are, in general, decisions upon particular ciicumstanccs, which it frequently happens cannot be safely extended into very general rules. The nature of the two subjects therefore points out a difference in the mode of construing them, and the reporter can do but little for the advancement of science if his readers do not minister to themselves in weighing the whole facts uf each case, rather than the literal expressions of particular sentences, with perspicacious judgment and cautious discretion.
The editor has only to observe, that he has been assisted with the cases in the Court of Chancery by a friend on whose accuracy lie has the greatest reliance, and whom he should be happy to thank publicly by name, but that at present he is ren strained. The reasons for publishing these Reports, it is not now necessary to state ; they have been explained before; but it may be convenient to have two accounts of decisions to confirm each other; some, cases will be found not reported by any co: temporary reporter; and the nature of the publication in which they were originally inserted, and will in future be continued monthly, is different from any which has previously been attempted.
Serjeant's hni, Fieri Street.
DURING THE TIME OF THESE REPORTS.
HIGH COURT OF CIIANCERY.
JOHN LORD ELDON, CHANCELLOR.
SIR WM. GRANT, KNT. MASTER OF THE ROLLS.
COURT OF KING'S BENCH.
EDWARD LORD ELLENBOROUGH, C. J.
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS.
RICHARD PEPPER LORD ALVANLEY, C. J.
COURT OF EXCHEQUER.
SIR ARCHIBALD MACDONALD, KNT. •
N. FS. Each case occurs twice in this Table, pnee with the nam«
Brown, Potter 0. -' 351
Bryan v. Horseman - 125
Buckle, Rex v. . 41
Guy - - 1
Busk v. Fearon . 103
Charlton, Bonner v. , * 364
Uxor - - 433
Corry, Rex v. 538